I first came across this blog over a year ago. Back then, I thought that the issue was resolved and was on its way to a slow and silent death. It comes to a surprise that someone resurrected the issue, for what?
Reading all their testimonials, I have drawn a conclusion that it is a driver error. Instead of stepping on the brakes, the drivers of those "out of control" Montero Sports mistakenly stepped on the gas instead.
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines' deposition on the Montero Sport's Unintended Acceleration
Words by Christopher Kho
When stories about the Montero Sport's unintended acceleration went viral over the web, it certainly raised a lot of questions on Mitsubishi's reliability, safety, and integrity. Accounts from several owners around the country described to have experienced their vehicles accelerating uncontrollably upon shifting from Park to Drive. Allegedly, the behemoth SUV continued to speed up and ended up crashing into structures and other cars even with the driver’s foot firmly on the brake pedal. With a big sigh of relief, no one got seriously injured in the incidents; but in the search to find a cause, the Montero Sport was quickly singled out as the culprit.
Could it be true that the Montero Sport, the second best-selling car in the Philippines, may have an Achilles heel that jeopardizes the safety of its passengers and other road users? Honestly, we had our doubts over the incidents, but without hard evidence to prove our hunch, we were in no position to air out our views.
Thankfully, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) has finally stepped out to bare all on this accusation. We hope this official statement can all put this controversy to rest.
MMPC's Official statement on the Montero Sport's Unintended Acceleration Cases:
“Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp (MMPC) has received complaints of unintended acceleration on the Montero Sport.
Upon receiving these complaints on unintended acceleration, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Japan, dispatched its engineers last February to investigate the claim. The investigation yielded that all the components (Fuel Injection system, Pedal, Engine Control Unit or ECU, Wiring harness, etc.) and software are operating normally within specifications. MMC will also investigate the latest reported cases of unintended acceleration claims.
In addition, we would like to note that the electronic throttle system of the Montero Sport has undergone extensive testing not only during its development but also during mass production to ensure that it will function the way it was designed to.
If you are a Montero Sport owner and in any way bothered by these “Montero Sudden Acceleration” internet blogs, you may bring your vehicle to any Mitsubishi Motors service center nationwide for a free check up. Meantime, we also encourage every owner/driver to read the owner’s manual as there are important reminders on the proper driving procedures most especially for automatic transmission vehicles. Please see www.mitsubishi-motors.com.ph/safety-reminders.php.
MMPC would like to assure the public that every vehicle developed by MMC and its components undergo extensive testing and are of the highest quality level and that we are committed to your utmost satisfaction and safety.”
If you've also noticed, the Montero Blog has been removed. Hmm...I wonder if it was an advice from the guy's lawyer as well. If he signed a quit claim when Mitsubishi settled his repairs, he then has no right to post the incident online.
Does this potentially concern all MS units, or just the A/T ones? All the more reason for me to stick to M/T.
All incidents happend to A/T units where, allegedly, the Montero Sport "jumped" when shifted into D. But as we suspect, it's a case of driver error as there's investigation show that there's no fault with the vehicle.
By: Jason K. Ang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:18 pm | Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
It is the most frightening scenario for a motorist—not being able to stop one’s vehicle. Stalling or not being able to start one’s car can be a mere inconvenience, or dangerous if one is on a highway, but an uncontrollable surge in a vehicle’s speed will almost inevitably lead to property damage, injury, or death. Being unable to stop usually means brake failure, but in a few cases it means a runaway vehicle—a car that keeps accelerating, popularly known as unintended acceleration (UA).
Recently, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport has been the subject of complaints of UA. A blog has been put up by one owner, relating his own incident with the Montero Sport, as well as several other purported complaints.
Mitusbishi Motors Philippines Corp.’s (MMPC) official reply: “Upon receiving these complaints on unintended acceleration, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) Japan, dispatched its engineers last February to investigate the claim. The investigation yielded that all the components (Fuel Injection system, Pedal, Engine Control Unit or ECU, Wiring harness, etc.) and software are operating normally within specifications. MMC will also investigate the latest reported cases of unintended acceleration claims.
“In addition, we would like to note that the electronic throttle system of the Montero Sport has undergone extensive testing not only during its development but also during mass production to ensure that it will function the way it was designed to.”
If you are a Montero Sport owner and in any way bothered by these “Montero Sudden Acceleration” Internet blogs, you may bring your vehicle to any Mitsubishi Motors service center nationwide for a free checkup. Meantime, we also encourage every owner/driver to read the owner’s manual as there are important reminders on the proper driving procedures most especially for automatic transmission vehicles (please see www.mitsubishi-motors.com.ph/ safety-reminders.php).
“MMPC would like to assure the public that every vehicle developed by MMC and its components undergo extensive testing and are of the highest quality level and that we are committed to your utmost satisfaction and safety.”
Is there any foundation to these complaints of UA? It’s worth reading the findings of the largest study of UA conducted, by the US government agency National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The study was initiated in 2010 after complaints of UA in Toyota vehicles.
The conclusion is that there are several causes of UA. The first and most common is driver error-stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal as intended. Second is a physical cause that causes the accelerator to get stuck. Commonly cited are ill-fitting floor mats that trap the pedal, or a “sticky pedal” that does not return to the idle position when released. The former cause—floor mats—was the cause of a well-publicized high-speed crash in San Diego involving a Lexus vehicle. The second, sticky accelerator pedals, was the subject of the unprecedented recall of nine million vehicles by Toyota.
Then there is the vehicle-based cause, where the throttle valve, the primary control for engine speed, can get stuck open regardless of the pedal position. This is possible when the throttle is electronically controlled. The throttle valve is controlled by a motor taking instructions from a computer.
NHTSA enlisted the help of NASA scientists for the ten-month study to scrutinize Toyota’s electronic throttle system, the suspected culprit in UA. The study concluded that there was “no electronic cause of UA incidents involving large throttle openings and no reason to believe that any failure of the Electronic Throttle Control system would affect a vehicle’s braking system.”
In conclusion, NHTSA stated that “these types of complaints generally do not appear to involve vehicle-based causes and that, where the complaint included allegations that the brakes were ineffective or that the incident began with a brake application, the most likely cause of the acceleration was actually pedal misapplication (i.e, the driver’s unintended application of the accelerator rather than, or in addition to, the brake.)”
Does this mean that the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is exonerated? It would be difficult to conclude that based solely on the Toyota case, but the study does make the claim of vehicle-caused UA improbable. As we have no agency that is as well-equipped as NHTSA to investigate these claims, they will likely remain as such—inconclusive claims.
Should the motoring public be concerned about unintended acceleration? Certainly, but we should look at physical causes rather than be worried that our vehicle might lurch forward on its own due to a stuck throttle.
Make sure your floor mats cannot trap your accelerator pedal. Ideally there should be a peg or hook holding the mat so it cannot slide forward towards the pedals. Be aware of your vehicle’s operating instructions. It’s useful to remember that a car’s brake system, operating properly, can always overpower its engine. Use the brakes—at full force, when necessary. Shift to neutral if the engine starts revving uncontrollably. If your car uses an engine start-stop button, particularly a keyless type, know how to shut it down.
As for manufacturers, there is always room to improve safety. Floor mats with a safety hook should be standard, as should a shift lock for automatic transmissions. Many new vehicles still allow starting without the driver stepping on the brake pedal, allow starting in Neutral instead of Park, and allow shifting from Park without stepping on the brake pedal. Lack of such safety features will allow unintended acceleration due to driver error. And that can have serious consequences for life and limb.
We're trying to kill an already dead issue here, but it's worth a shot. Earlier today, we got a 4x2 A/T Montero Sport to the Clark International Speedway to test out the SUV's issues. We basically did 2 tests to demonstrate what could be the effects of these "sudden acceleration" cases.
We revved the engine high (3k, 4k and rev limit) and shifted it from Neutral to Drive. The Montero Sport basically rolled off the line and no evidence of "sudden acceleration". The acceleration was fairly slow that you can easily stop it with the brakes.
We accelerated the Montero Sport off the line in full throttle, sped up to 80km/h and slammed on the brakes with the throttle fully open. Basically, as Mitsubishi explained it, power was immediately cut from the engine and the SUV grinded to a halt. This pretty much explains that if those cases with Montero Sports suddenly accelerating really stepped on the brakes, the would have stopped.
Driver error. Basically, they stepped on the gas instead of the brakes that's why the vehicle jumped and the more the step on the pedal, the more it accelerated.
It's a bit weird though because the gas and brake pedals of the Montero Sport are spaced far apart that it would be hard to interchange the two.